vital vegan

Baking bread

December 11, 2008
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I came across a recipe a while back for nigella barley bread, and decided to try it. Of course the co-op didn’t have nigella seeds and I misplaced my barley flour when I started adding the flour to the yeast, so I kind of played the part of Dr. Frankenstein and took a little bit of a lot of things I had on hand to create a suitably edible creation.

Here were the first two results.

Sun-dried tomato pesto and cornmeal bread:

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and Millet and Indian spices loaf:

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I made both of these breads on a Sunday about two weeks ago. Last weekend I decided to experiment again. Since it was after the Thanksgiving holiday, but I hadn’t yet made a full festive dinner, like I usually do, I took the celery and onions I was going to use in stuffing (which would have required cubing Dave‘s rye and whole grain breads I bought for the occasion), and added it to my dough. In went more millet and some poultry-esque spices, and here’s what it looked like (after a bit of munching):

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I thought the consistency of this latest batch was better (I think I may have overworked the dough in the first two attempts), and definitely want to keep trying. When I get back from California in January, I’m going to attempt a sourdough starter, and try to keep it going so I can begin to bake rolls and loafs (have you seen New Seasons’ bread prices lately?!?) and maybe have a meatless meatball sandwich party when I finally perfect it.

Oh, and for Thanksgiving, I made an apple tart, but stupidly forgot to take a picture. Oh well. I’m going to be making a pear and cranberry tart in the next few days hopefully and won’t forget to document it. Also planned (and by that I mean I thought these up and am now craving them but don’t want to be stuck eating them all by myself, so will be giving them away to friends this holiday season) is a coconut cake with fudgy chocolate frosting, a spiced apple and raisin strudel, a peach and dried cherry pie (or tart), Mexican wedding cookies, peanut butter cookie crust cheesecake with chocolate chips (vegan, of course), and something special for Jill (can you bake a salad?).


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New focus

November 20, 2008
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Hmmm. Ok, have been mostly focusing on baking lately, including Mexican wedding cookies for Los Gorditos’ all-vegan location grand opening (complete with menu I designed), cake with coconut and chocolate chips, and chocolate cake with peanut butter, coconut flakes and chocolate cake. The latter was made for a newly formed artist collective’s first meeting/potluck, which included a painting party (of canvases, not walls).

So that got me interested in art and design again. I guess I’m just going to share some of my favorite sites and try to remember some of the ones I used to look at nearly every day.

Newspaper design has always been a passion of mine, from typography to graphics to artwork to unexpected headline location to the the placement of articles in relation to all of the above. I know, I’m a nerd.

A few weeks ago, I went to the art museum for the first time. I stayed for hours, really staring at pieces and getting uber close, scaring some of the guards, in fact, because, well, I guess I had realized I’d been missing something. I missed beauty and skill and talent and inspiration, motivation, time and effort that produced amazingly complicated and detailed results. I really needed that. And now am hoping to incorporate more of that into my life. I’ve been stagnant, going through the motions for months now, and I think the election was just the thing to wake me up.

More to come…


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October’s over?!?

October 31, 2008
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Uh, oops. I kinda lost track of time. I still have so many things I haven’t made and wanted to. Getting out The Alliance has proven more difficult than I imagined, so haven’t made much of anything lately.

Here’s a savory sun-dried tomato and herb danish from Sweetpea, tofu pad see ew from Thai Thai II, and some soup I made with lots of vegetables (which tasted a little bland, so I added Tofurky sausage bits to it) and other healthy stuff, including onion, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, diced tomatoes, lots of herbs, and barley.


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Weekend eats

October 27, 2008
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I’m too tired to write right now. Here’s some pictures.


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Fresh flavors

October 24, 2008
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I was trying to use the veggies I bought yesterday in the easiest way possible, without masking their fresh taste. So I roasted some olive-oil sprinkled zucchini in the oven, then cut up the amount that wouldn’t fit on the baking sheet, adding it to shallots. I sauted them together, then added a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes and garlic. I added the “sauce” to rotini pasta. I ate most of the roasted zucchini with just a bit of salt. Simple but super flavorful. I have a weird love of zucchini, probably because I used to eat fried battered zucchini as a kid from some places my dad used to take me to.

Addition: How much do I want to veganize this? I’ll definitely post pics and invite some of you to partake if I do.


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More market

October 23, 2008
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Wednesday is co-op day. More lobster and chanterelle mushrooms. Got unsolicited instructions on how to clean dirt off them before cooking (so didn’t need that explained). Bought many more pears (previous post had red bartletts) including comice and bosc. Bought giant container of baby cherry tomatoes for lots more pasta making, zucchini for roasting and/or soup ingredient. Went into the co-op for lots and lots of flour (needed for cinnamon roll recipe, if I make the full batch), spelt flour for future bread making, barley to put in soup, and polenta for more experimental cooking next week.


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Another P

October 23, 2008
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I totally forgot that I had a whole lot of pears, so baked them up Tuesday. I was catching up on The Splendid Table podcasts on Monday when I heard the recipe, but decided to change it a little. I baked them a few minutes cut side down, then flipped them over and added a crumbly topping to them. Around the pears I added a little water and a sprinkling of sugar. As they baked, the pear juices added to the caramelization taking place. Pretty damn tasty.

And I love how you can tell what time of the year it is based on people’s outdoor decorations:


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National Nut Day

October 23, 2008
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Wednesday was National Nut Day, which I found out a little late, but that’s OK because I had made an Asian stir fry meal with cashews late Tuesday for Wednesday’s lunch.

In talks with Jillie Bean earlier, I agreed to make cinnamon pecan rolls, so went to Trader Joe’s for some nuts. I don’t know why they seem to be cheaper there than other places, but they are. I checked the co-op, Whole Foods and Grocery Outlet first (yes, I did a lot of shopping today), but no go. Trader’s FTW. I’ll likely use Martha’s recipe and do my own wacky filling.

Oh, and finally here’s a picture of the peanut butter and chocolate chip loaf cake I made over the weekend:


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I like things that start with P

October 21, 2008
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Yeah, I’m noticing weird food choices more and more lately. I had some zucchini I wanted to cook that I had put in the freezer with the cut-up eggplant from last week, so figured I’d make something. Took spelt bread, crumbled it, added salt and dried herbs to become breadcrumbs. Breaded the eggplant with it after dipping it in oil and a bit of hemp milk first. Roasted it and the zucchini.

Totally forgot to take pics of it though, because was busy making…

Slightly weird combo foods:

While the zucchini and eggplant were cooking, I tried to figure out what else to make as long as I had the oven on. Spotted polenta on the shelf in one of those tubes. De-tubed it, added hemp milk until creamier, put in rest of bread crumbs, shallots, more herbs and drizzled olive oil on it. Baked in large flat casserole dish. Made black beans, with grilled shallots and cumin and other random spices. Cut up Tofurky Italian sausage and added some (grilled first) to beans. Ate together.

And here’s some more pictures, since I seem to have forgotten to post between now and Wednesday:

Corn from the farmers’ market at PSU (seen on corn-themed veggie plate), chanterelles from the same, ditto to potatoes, and shallots in the green beans with shallots side dish. Added a bit of barbeque sauce to Tofurky sausage while heating it.


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Pre-pooch pasta

October 21, 2008
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Went to Doggie-palooza w/ Jill and furry Guy on Sunday. Knew we’d be there a while, so figured I’d bring something to munch on. Had chanterelle mushrooms from Saturday’s market and zucchini from the co-op plus two kinds of pasta that weren’t enough on their own for a meal, so cooked up everything. And added a bit of fake parmesan. Here’s the results:


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Saturday Produce Market

October 21, 2008
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I love Portland. it’s weird, really. I feel way too comfortable here sometimes. And I’m always finding new and surprising things the more I go out and explore the city. Saturday was one of those days. Hit the PSU farmers’ market and found the Oregon Historical Society’s museum was having a free day, so had to stop in. Here’s a few pics:


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Caught up, I hope

October 20, 2008
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So, let’s see … Oct. 14? Really? I suck. So here’s a million pictures:

Again with the pasta and munching of food from farmers’ markets. Pretty awesome.


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Catching up

October 18, 2008
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I’ve been a little distracted, so haven’t posted in a few days. I’ll have an extra long post — with pics of course — up later today.


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Hodge-podge

October 14, 2008
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Need to saute some onions to go with the mushrooms, tomatoes and squash I cooked earlier. Wasn’t in the mood for more pasta, so think I’ll top veggie burgers with the mixed veggies and onions.

Will attempt soup making tomorrow, I think. I have had a ton of leftovers lately, and am trying to finish them up instead of eating out or making more dishes. The pitfall of loving to cook but not having anyone to share it with (and help eat it).


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Pancakes and Meese

October 13, 2008
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Hi everybody,

I made chocolate chip pancakes with a boy Sunday. I totally forgot to take pictures though. Too bad because they were good! And then I left all the leftover ingredients (just opened maple syrup, buttery stuff and almond milk) at his house. And please get your minds out of the gutter. Sometimes breakfast is just breakfast. Especially with this one.

Eating at Blue Moose brought up the question: What combo of foods wouldn’t you (or specifically me) eat? I am totally not picky. I don’t necessarily love some raw food or super spicy food, but everything else I am pretty open to. I am not about to enter FF‘s next gross-out contest, but I never ask to leave out an item when I order.

So, what do you not like? What won’t you eat? (Besides meat, fellow vegans) And why the hatred of avocados?!? What are your favorite food combos you are slightly embarrassed by? (And garlic tofu with polenta, avocado, salsa and lettuce is NOT that weird, damnit!)


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Market and thrift finds

October 12, 2008
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Went to PSU’s Saturday farmers’ market to get soup ingredients and more end-of-season tomatoes. Came home with tomatoes, potatoes, shallots and zucchini squash (to add to green beans, onion, white beans and maybe pasta) for the soup, and more tomatoes (yes, it’s a sickness, but I can’t help it) for probably more pasta (also a sickness, but super easy) or a casserole-type thing I read about in one of the new cookbooks I bought.

(Will update post after some sleep and hopefully make pancakes and/or eggplant parmesan early Sunday and have links to cookbooks. I need to do an entry on the ridiculous number of cookbooks I own but never make recipes from!)


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Communal cooking

October 12, 2008
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Friday night get-together discussing politics, parents, art and the future. Awesome new-ish friends, lots of pasta, awesome salad and delicious cake. And maybe a little bit of wine. (Still not a huge fan, but tastes better than beer, so I’ll continue to occassionally give it a shot.) Mood lighting set by Kristen c/o candles and a lattice-style lantern-like fixture I was totally coveting. Joni Mitchell on the stereo. Low-key and good people. I need to get out more often. Though my brain surprised me with wealth of art history knowledge retained from college years and before. Mentally adding to “To Do” list for the next year re: art exhibits and lectures and trying out some of the canvases I have but are still blank months after purchase. Small steps.

Penne pasta with tomato sauce that included Tofurky Italian sausage, peppers, onions, lots of garlic. Salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic dressing. Chocolate chip cake. Candlelight.


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Plenty of pasta

October 10, 2008
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Two different kinds:

Herb pasta used in both. The first also has red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, spinach, Italian tofurky sausage, garlic and fake parmesan. The second has diced lobster mushrooms with shallots, garlic, butter and olive oil, and fake parmesan.


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Distractions

October 9, 2008
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So I’m sitting here not eating, trying to get some work done, but mostly waiting for it to be sundown so I can eat – Damn Yom Kippur. Still trying to figure out why I do Jewishy things occasionally when I don’t practice, have no desire to practice and don’t see myself ever doing it. Though the boys are pretty cute.

I have big plans for the next few days. And yes, reading a book about a Julia Child cookbook made a weird impact in that I want to veganize a few things (almond cake, pastries/tarts and soups mostly) and experiment more.

I love ordering new things in restaurants, but I tend to just make variations of the same things when cooking at home. It usually takes holidays for me to try new dessert recipes. And in the non-sweet category, I tend to get more adventurous after I go to a new eatery and read their menu, deciding I can make that at home. So I think I’ll try doing that. I certainly have enough menus. More to come.


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Farmers’ market finds

October 9, 2008
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I needed some inspiration, so hit the co-op for some seasonal food finds.

I was craving tomatoes (since local ones won’t be available for much longer), and spotted some chantrelles and lobster mushrooms for future pasta meals. Shallots, garlic, pattypan squash and an eggplant also came home with me.

Oh, and an apple, to be added to the granny smiths from the store that’ll likely go into a crisp or cobbler or apple sauce (like Jill’s deliciousness).


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Comfort food and reading

October 9, 2008
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Is it just me or has it been ridiculously cold these past few nights? I still have two windows open in my apartment (the bathroom and the kitchen ones) but may rethink this soon. Strangely, the hotter weather last week produced peppers for the first time all summer, one so far on each of my three smaller plants, so I don’t know if I should them in the same conditions or not (as they’re indoors on my windowsill).

I think I’ll be attempting more bread recipes in the pretty near future — and not just to heat up the apartment at night. I bought some more flour and am going through my bread machine book (though the machine is at my mom’s house in California) to see what appeals to me. Got any suggestions?

Simple pasta dish: whole wheat spirals, spinach, green pepper, meatless meatballs, garlic, sauce (from Whole Foods, but will try to be less lazy in the future).

I’m almost done with Julie and Julia and will start on My Year of Meats soon.


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Impromptu pizza roll

October 7, 2008
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So I was testing the yeast, trying to figure out what I wanted to make, adding whole wheat pastry and spelt flours, trying to decide between a loaf or biscuits. I let the mixture rise and punched it down, rise and fall. Added shallots, garlic, tomato paste and rolled it out on the cutting board. Added more tomato paste and soyrizo and black olive pieces and fake parmesan. Rolled it into a tube-like shape with olive oil on top and baked it. (Will add pictures in the morning when I cut it up.)


Smoothies and baking

October 5, 2008
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In light of the changing weather, and in an attempt o combat it, I felt like a little summery pick-me-up. So, I went through the freezer and pulled out a ton of frozen fruit. Here’s what the final version consisted of: mango, pineapple, raspberries, orange juice concentrate (for sweetness), banana (all of the previous being frozen), vanilla soy yogurt and hemp milk. I don’t usually add yogurt, but had some unopened and figured now I would be forced to buy fresh fruit to eat with it, or continue the cooking by finding a good recipe t use it in.

I’m seeing if the yeast I have is still good, and will post pics of bread if it is, or cake if it isn’t.

Update: Well, got a little lazy and went with cake. Yeast will be tomorrow.

There’s this recipe I use for most of my cakes because it is a great starting point. I’ve added a ton different flavors to it over the years, just playing around. It can turn into a chocolate cake; or just a chocolate chip cake; or an orange cranberry cake for Thanksgiving; or a pumpkin-pie cake (sometimes with chocolate chips); or an autumny one with apple chunks, cinnamon and walnuts; or a blueberry creation; or just the plain recipe with a dash of cinnamon and coated in icing or fudgy frosting; the possibilities are pretty endless. This current creation is a peanut butter chocolate chip cake with peanut butter chocolate frosting. Waiting for it to cool, but will probably go to sleep instead of eating it. Delaying gratification a bit.


Rainy weather has already struck

October 5, 2008
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Hmmm … there’s nothing to do but make chili. So I did.

I was feeling pretty lazy after not having time to cook (thanks again Jill!), but wanted comforty food due to the weather, and there’s nothing easier than taking all the cans of beans I have and dumping them in a pot. It’s a bit more complicated than that in actuality, but not by much. I broke down and bought corn chips to eat with it.


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Someone else did the cooking…

October 4, 2008
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but I still got to enjoy it!!!


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ATTN: Splendid Table Re: Stump the Cook

October 2, 2008
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Hmmm… too busy to make it to co-op, have applesauce, soyrizo, hummus, spelt bread and soy vanilla yogurt in fridge. Nah.

Freezer produced better results:

brown rice, mixed “beijing” vegetables plus more broccoli, cashews, Trader’s soyaki and sesame seeds on my veggie plates (carrots pictured — thanks dad!)

Easy, though brown rice takes FOREVER to cook. It beat the alternative, however, which was spaghetti and meatballs AGAIN. Need to expand what I have on hand a little or just remember to buy/add zucchini and spinach more often to my pasta dishes.

Just started reading Julie & Julia about cooking through the Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook. Been reading a lot of food-related novels in the past year (picked this one up at a Goodwill outlet where all hardbacks were 75 cents) and wish there were some vegan versions out there. Damnit. Now I may have to look into filling the void. Maybe a Veganomican version? Though cupcakes would be easier and I already know someone who was working her way through it last summer for Food Fight‘s weekly potlucks.


Vegan MOFO

October 1, 2008
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I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that i need to cook more and eat out less, so here goes, in honor of newish Portland resident Isa of the PPK, it’s all about the MOFO!

Since I didn’t take pics of my latest meal (butternut squash ravioli w/ heirloom cherry-sized tomatoes, soyrizo, garlic, fake parmesan and a splash of balsamic), I’ll have to start with whatever I pick up from People’s farmer’s market Wednesday afternoon.

I hope you get inspired to try something new or different or give veganism a shot, even if it’s one meal’s worth. After all, raising animals for food is contributing to global warming and pollution, increased heart disease and certain cancers, and is often just cruel to the animals who are raised for only slaughter and know nothing but mistreatment their whole lives. Or, just limit your meat intake to help save the environment, as recommended by scientists.

I won’t push, just nudge. Every little effort adds up to great results.

Thanks.


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October 1, 2009
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As it is World Vegetarian Day & the start of Vegan MoFo once again, it’s also the return to posting every day about food.

I came across this today, and also

A press release I received today :(

A press release I received today 😦

Today, Thursday, follows an all-day fasting I did for Yom Kippur. Needless to say, I’ve thought a lot about food lately. But haven’t necessarily eaten a lot this week, since I was still contemplating things. I do that a lot.

Instead of worrying about all the nasty processed stuff that people are putting into their bodies, here’s some simple produce I picked up from the farmers’ market:

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Enjoy.


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Vegan. Girl. Journalist. Designer. Sci-fi geek.

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